Saturday, January 30, 2010

Leaning Tower of Pizza

Last semester things hit Preston and I pretty hard. Needless to say, slugging over to Jewel Osco and buying groceries was not on our list of priorities.

That being said, we made many phone calls to our friends at Domino's pizza during the final days of intense work. They never failed to fill or stomachs without slimming our wallets and always gave us the nourishment needed to keep churning out quality work. Problem is Preston and I are very, very bad at taking out the recycling.

That is why we have this new interesting piece of furniture in our kitchen.

Scary part? That's only about half of what we ordered. In fact, for some reason that doesn't even include the Cinastix or wings we gorged ourselves with bi-nightly.

I cannot wait to do it all over again with the new Dominos recipe. In case you are wondering: it's delicious.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Off to a Good Start. Not.

I'm finally back in Chicago and it feels good. I am ready to hit this semester hard and make some dope work. Somewhere in the equation to yield success at SAIC is a little known (and to those who do know it, often ignored) necessity: a good nights sleep and promptness.

Anyone who has ever made an appointment with me for anything knows that I'm an early bird. This means that usually I arrive a half hour before I need to for every class so I can enjoy the commute over at a comfortable pace all while leaving enough time aside for Murphy and his stupid law to gobble up if he's feeling in the mood to shut down the Blue Line.

Today is my first class so I wanted an extra early start. No problem. Well, there's one problem. Last night I ignored the little known secret that promotes a healthy, happy day. In other words, I stayed up very late and got two hours of sleep.

Not a huge dilemma, I'm a big boy and have the next three days to rest. I crawl out of bed feeling incredibly shitty. Shittier than usual, actually. I look outside and it's dark as night. I toss on the long johns, get dressed and bundle up for the cold, unforgiving Chicago commute.

I arrive to class. It's early and no one is there. Nice. Hang out for a bit, drink some free Coffee and surf the web.

Time goes by. It's 9:00 AM and no one is in sight. Was class cancelled? No way.

9:15. Do I have the right room? Panic sets in. I bite the bullet and wait it out and surf the web. That's when I notice something on Gizmodo. The most recent post (one I had not read earlier in the morning) was at 8:00 AM. Had I gone through a time warp? My phone said it was just after 9. My laptop said it was 9, too. What's going on? Where is everybody? Am I being watched?

I'm scared.

I go downstairs to the empty lobby and ask the security guard a silly question.

"Is it eight or nine?"

She looks at me and says the most saddening news I could hear.

"It's eight. I'm so sorry."

She laughs, I sort of laugh and I crawl back into the elevator to sit like a schmuck in an empty student lounge. My head hurts.

Thanks a lot Eastern Time. You really know how to show a fella' a good morning.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Forkless in Flushing

Today I found myself strolling around Flushing, Queens with no planned destination and a rumbling stomach.

All of the restaurants seemed a little too authentic for me so it took a longer while than usual to find the right place and enjoy some dumplings. Finally, I found a restaurant that seemed legit without killing the budget (or the bowels) and I went in.

Food looked dope. Still, there was one small problem. Chopsticks.

Can't use the things. These one's didn't even come with the over simplified three panels of instructions printed on the wrapper.

Dumplings can indeed be eaten with the hands but everyone was watching me and I didn't want to be the savage Guilo who walked in off the street and ate like a monkey.

I, ashamed, signaled to the waiter and quietly asked him if he had any knives or forks.

He said no.

I ate with my hands.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Mad Po

I'm back from Washington and being home has already been very eventful.

Yesterday I had plans to meet my buddy Daniel. We planned on greeting each other with a high-five at sixth avenue and ninth street and then go to a nearby bookstore. I rarely head over there but always enjoyed the neighborhood so I was looking forward to a nice stroll in the warm(ish) weather.

I was in a cab on 14th street when a platoon of at least fifteen cop cars zoomed past us at breakneck speeds. They were going in the same direction as us so traffic was screwed up. Once they passed, the street was closed and fifteen more cars zoomed by. The cab driver turned back and asked me:

"You sure you still wanna' go west?"

I thought about it. Was I about to enter a war zone? Probably. The answer?

"Hell yes."

We finally managed to get there and I got a call from Daniel. He said something crazy was happening at ninth and sixth. We had just arrived when an unmarked cop car swerved in front of the cab, blocking us off halfway through the street. I looked at the windows and realized that I was engulfed in chaos.

I paid the cabbie and apologized for getting him stuck in the life threatening situation and felt bad that I got to run for cover while he sat like a duck in the middle of the shit storm. The moment I got out I saw more cops in one concentrated area than I have in a long while, most armed with large assault rifles and angry German Shepherds.

A out of breath cop ran up to me and asked if I had seen an "African American man on foot." On my way over I had seen at least thirty African American men standing on feet. I hate this cop mentality that aggressively screaming a race and gender will narrow results when, in actuality, it just puts innocent people of the same race in gender in danger. The officer himself was black and I wanted to teach him a lesson and say "Yes I have, I'm talking to him right now" and teach him about other ways of describing people like, say, clothing. I didn't feel like getting shot in the face so I just said "no" and found Daniel.

I spoke to a man who had followed the scene on his bike. He said there was an intense car chase that at points went up on the sidewalk. The officers smashed his car a few feet away from my can and the man escaped.

Now hundreds of cops were walking around with dogs. Every so often the gigantic German Shepard would bark at someone in the crowd and I would get as far away from the imminent riot as possible.

Eventually the crowd dispersed and Daniel and I left. We couldn't find anything out about it then and can't now. Strange. All I do know is that it was fucking crazy.

After leaving the scene I saw Bill Hader of SNL fame. That was cool, too.

So handsome.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Mr. Gannon Goes To Washington Pt. 3

Today was a rainy day in Washington but that didn't stop us from covering a damn good amount of ground and having a fun time doing it. Since I have already seen the buzzkill war memorials and patriotism inducing monuments, today was dedicated to a softer side of this town: art.

We hit up a few museums, all of which were good and worth checking out if not solely for the collections but for the buildings they are held in. We shot over to the Corcoran and I got to see one of my favorite Hopper pieces, Ground Swell, which had made it's way over to Chicago a few years ago. It's always nice to see this in person, I love Hopper and this piece is so out of his normal lens that I find myself trying to find something wrong with someone. I never can. Still, love it.

It's funny, this museum also has a school of art and design in it. My school is a museum with a school in it. This museum has two lions chilling in front of the entrance. My school has some lions chilling in front of the entrance...


I'm not trying to start any school beef but I gotta' say: these lions are wack. The Art Institute of Chicago lions are staring off onto Michigan Avenue, bloodthirsty and ready to fuck shit up while proudly protecting all the little fartists who can't hold their own who are huddled together in the big building behind him.

The Corcoran lions? They're fucking sleeping!

You know, in retrospect I gotta' say that's a pretty cool mission statement. I'll check the place out in a few years when it's grad school time.

Things got really good when we ditched the old school stuff and went to hang out with the cool kids. That's right, my shit. We went to the Hirshhorn museum which had one really incredible floor and then a second mediocre one. It's so nice to see art with a sense of humor and this joint had a lot of it. Thank god. Of course, there was a gigantic Roy Lichtenstein sculpture in the back and a Jeff Koons piece as well. They were a surprise to me as we went in through the back door. That was a nice way to end things.

After that we went to the Freer Gallery which bleeds off of the gigantic, breathing, pulsating museum monster blob that is the Smithsonian. That place was pretty dope but not completely up my alley. There was some cool stuff but I didn't take any pictures because a scary security guard was grilling me. Usually I handle myself well in these situations and leave with the picture but I could tell that this guy would take me into the Peacock Room and bludgeon me to death with a fancy iron candle holder from the early 19th century.

He would.

After that we had some delicious grub and here I am back at the hotel room feeling pretty good. The train ride home is tomorrow so it looks like the trip is coming to an end.

How sad.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Pause. Let's talk about Haiti.

I'm doing this whole "Mr. Gannon Goes To D.C." shtick and it seems to be going pretty well. I'm having fun again, the readers are slowly (actually, less slowly than expected) learning I'm posting again and I'm having fun. All is well.

Still, it's 2:13 in the morning out here in Washington and I have to break format for a minute and talk about this Haiti situation. I know it's late and I know that in the grand scheme of things I don't have much to contribute. Still, it's been eating away at me for the past few days and culminated in the last hour after watching live footage of starving civilians fighting over boxes of food. As I sat in my comfortable hotel room, sipping from a cold beer, calm from taking a hot bath, this disturbed me.

There are a few things I have to say.

About five years ago I was on a family trip much similar to the one I'm on now. We weren't in Washington but Dublin, Ireland. I remember switching the television on and seeing breaking news about hurricane Katrina. The media over there is pretty frank and made things very clear: my country was in a terrible state and a shitload of people were dying, starving and on the verge of total breakdown.

I felt powerless. Being so far away from home and having to watch part of it crumble was terrible. When 9/11 made it's rounds I was too young to do anything. To this day I think of this and bite my lip, regretful of my circumstance. I wish there was something, anything I could do. Since then I think to myself often and remind myself that if my neighbors or fellow Americans ever need my help I will do something. Still, there wasn't much I could do. I was fifteen years old and stuck in Ireland. The view from afar was good (too good) and I watched everything. All from the comfort of a hotel room.

Tonight turning on the television and seeing Haiti crumble even further evoked similar feelings. To be honest, they weren't as strong and that's simply because I am not Haitian. I don't know anyone who is and couldn't even tell you the capital of the place (at least until the past couple of days rolled by). Even so, being away from home and seeing such a gruesome scene play out was strange. Being in Washington D.C. with the intention of going on a self-indulgent, patriotic buffet made things, well, a few parts awkward with a twist of guilt.

I'm honestly not sure where this post is going. All I do know is that it's important to note a few things before it wraps up.

It's a new decade and as far as I'm concerned, a damn late one. We have been around for two thousand and a few more years than I think we should have. You make my ass a caveman and throw me out in the wilderness and I'd croak before you could say "evolve."

Essentially what I'm saying is that it's amazing we have come this far and the end isn't clearly coming tomorrow or even next year.

We live in a time that carries a great deal of responsibility. It's hard to grasp but we as people, not Americans, need to help other people not as neighbors, but as people. Nations, very slowly, are beginning to mean less and less every day. The more we communicate, the more we spread, the less meaning borders have. We each have a duty as people who have made it two thousand and ten years into the unknown to do what we can for each other and help make it another two thousand.

I'm asking you as a friend:

If you believe in god, pray.

If you are rich, donate.

If you are like me and don't know what to do, hope.

That's close to nothing, but it's better than zilch.

Be well.

Blogmaster K-Dog.

Mr. Gannon Goes To Washington Pt. 2

D.C. is a fun town. Like I said in the last post, this place is pretty darn beautiful. Today we walked down to the National Mall and checked out all of the monuments that are the first things to get blown up by aliens in movies. It was my first time doing so and seeing these massive landmarks up close was wonderful. I got that warm fuzzy feeling in my belly that I get at the end of war films or when someone makes a good speech on TV or when I somehow whoop Carlos' ass at Madden 09' for the first time in months.

It was a cool day. For example:

I got to stand in the exact spot that Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous and world changing I have a Dream speech.

I saw the White Houses' backyard which has private beehives and a nice little fountain.

The strange thing about this trip so far was the War Memorials. I fully support the construction of these and strongly believe in constantly reminding ourselves about those who have died in wars (American or not) and what we as a nation lose every time we have another one.

Still, it was upsetting (and eventually emotionally taxing) to see so many memorials in such a small space. We really do fight a lot, I know that. It's just strange to see it gobble up real estate in such a blatant way. It's a shame that 90% of the constructed monuments in this area of our capital are about things that all of us wish never happened. I'd like to see some more celebratory monuments but I guess those aren't interesting. I know that we have a lot to celebrate, now it's just a matter of pouring the cement. Am I alone on this?

The statues of exhausted soldiers in the Korean War were intense.

I didn't go to the Vietnam War Memorial (the one by Maya Lin) but instead observed it from a distance. It has been something I've been looking forward to seeing because the stories behind Maya's conception and struggles she had with that piece are amazing. Still, when it was right in front of me I got cold feet. I don't know anyone of those names and knew that some people next to me would. Something about that felt intrusive.

The reason I came out here in the first place was really because of one thing. I wanted to see the Lincoln Memorial. I think it's a beautiful, simple construction with a pretty cool dude sitting inside of it. I came all the way down here to see him and I finally got to. It was great.

I'm not big on temples or enshrining things. This was cool with me, though.


Finally after a big dinner and a lot of strolling around we walked past the front of the White House, lit up in all her glory. She looked good and I was pretty sure that there were people keeping their eye on me and every other spectator through the scope of a sniper rifle or some crazy counter terrorist device that knew who I was, my blogs traffic and that I was not a threat to homeland security. Creepy? Sure. American? Unfortunately, these days, yes.

Still, it felt really nice. Maybe I was swooned by the sandstone.

Friday, January 15, 2010

I Have Arrived

A few hours on the train and I am finally here. The District where dreams come true and patriotism churns like butter in yer' belly.

Right off the bat I have been awed by a butt-ton of beautiful architecture. Stepping off the train it was dark so I haven't seen much except a few landmarks that were illuminated or in eye shot.

My favorite sight thus far has been the brollick dudes peering down from the Attic block in Union Station.

They are called "The Progress of Railroading" and represent fire, electricity, freedom, inspiration, agriculture and mechanics. These six figures (who are actually sculptings of Prometheus, Thales, Themis, Apollo, Ceres and Archimedes, respectively) watch over the commuters of Union Station. A reminder of how wonderful things are. A subtle prompt to stop for one moment and think about how incredible it is that our industry and lifestyle allow us to travel across borders at the drop of a hat safely, conveniently and comfortably.


Now juxtapose that with the hot and smelly sinkhole known as Penn Station where the nicest piece of art is a Bart Simpson bust found in the shitter of a TGIF.

Let's get some marble up in that joint.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Mr. Gannon Goes To Washington

Good news, folks. The unofficial winter hiatus is finally over. Why? I'm hitting the road, baby!

It all started a few weeks ago when I was still in school. Preston and I watched the Frank Capra masterpiece Mr. Smith Goes To Washington and as the fireplace roared, drink in hand, I couldn't help feel like I was missing something.

Somewhere beneath that good ol' gilded American propaganda was a strong message. I couldn't help but wonder: where do we draw the line between fanaticism and patriotism? Am I a bona fide American or a flag waving loonie? More importantly, why haven't I been to my nation's capital to visit the many monuments that tribute the rich history this land has behind her?

Well, I called my parents and told em' it was time to hit up D.C. Tickets are bought and tomorrow afternoon I'm getting on a train and commencing my patriotic vision quest.

For the first time in a long while I have something worth blogging about. Thank god, I thought I'd have to wait for the semester to kick off.

Get ready everyone. Tomorrow will kick off the first episode of Mr. Gannon Goes To Washington!

Bon Voyage!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Holiday Retrospective

It's true. I wrapped up the semester and came back home tired and anxious to do nothing. To celebrate Christmas and the coming New Year with my friends and family in the city I love. That's exactly what I did. A little too well.

I haven't posted here in weeks. That stings.

So far it's been a good trip back home. I have seen my buddies, played some black jack, slept enough and spent too much money on things that cost too much money because Manhattan can get away with with charging anyone anything.

Ah. Feels like home.

Essentially, I can easily summarize my time here in New York with two pictures. It started off with french fries at an old rest stop tucked away off the Palisades...

...and ends staring out the window at a cold, snowy 14th street.

Sure, a lot has has gone down between points A and B but that doesn't mean I'm going to sit here talking about it. What matters is that right now I'm at point B and loving it. I'm back in the blogosphere and it feels good.

The holidays were fun but they are long gone. It's time to snap back to reality, wake up from the strange wintry nap I have been in and clean my eye of sleep boogers. It's time to start this year off with a bang.

I do so with this. The first post of the decade.